Filming forests in Uganda

What should you expect to film in Uganda’s forests? What do you require to go for forest filming in Uganda? When is the best time to visit Uganda for forest filming? Where to stay while filming forests in Uganda and How to get there- these and more frequently asked filming questions have been covered in this guide to forest film crew fixing in Uganda.

About 30% of Uganda- the Pearl of Africa is forested making it an ideal forest filming spot in East Africa. The large forest cover in Uganda holds over 109 million metric tons of carbon in its living forest biomass. They shelter a diversity of wildlife including over 1592 amphibian species in Uganda, mammals, bird species, reptiles, and more. About 1.1% of these species are endemic while 3.1% are classified as threatened. While on forest filming in Uganda, there is the possibility to capture live videos of these amazing creatures while in the natural forests.

There are also over 4900 vascular plants worth exploring in most of Uganda’s forests. In Uganda, some of the National Parks and Wildlife Reserves have vast forests making them ideal forest filming safari destinations/locations. There are 10 (Ten) National Parks in Uganda and the forested Uganda safari parks include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mount Elgon National Park, Murchison Falls National Park– Budongo Forest, Semuliki National Park, and more.

Filming in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, located in Southwestern Uganda is a famous gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation destination in Africa. The park was founded in 1991 and occupies 331sq.km of land area, largely consisting of a vast and misty Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

While on forest filming in Bwindi National Park, the best filming spot is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest home to the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda. Film crews, production companies, media companies, or in case you are interested in documentaries, visiting Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for filming requires you to have applied and obtained relevant Media Permit also often referred to as the Press Accreditation.

The Press Accreditation in Uganda can be via the Uganda Media Council and interestingly, we are the reliable ground film fixer in the Pearl of Africa. We play an important role in helping interested film crews or individuals secure Media Permits- the process often takes 2 to 3 working days apart from the most sensitive projects.

The Uganda Media Council is in charge issuing of Media Cards/Press Accreditation. An individual or crew member on a filming tour in Uganda is required to fill the form G which should also be accompanied by relevant scanned passport copies and currently taken passport-sized photos. This is to help in the processing of the media cards or press accreditations.

Media Permit fees in Uganda

The Media Permit fees are payable to Uganda Media Council. The rates differ ranging from US Dollars 175 per pax, to be paid for a period of not more than 30 days of journalist’s stay. US Dollars 225 per pax for about 6 months of stay and lastly, US Dollars 325 per pax for 2 years of stay.

Bwindi Impenetrable NP filming permits

Once you have obtained the Media Permit, next will be to contact Uganda Wildlife Authority- an organ in charge your preferred filming location/destination- Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. At Uganda Wildlife Authority, film crews, companies etc are charged 40% filming fee for any activity they plan to film and 10% as a monitoring fee. Both filming and monitoring fees must be paid to Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) will then draft a filming agreement/contract which must be signed. The agreement will stipulate the terms and conditions for filming in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest/National Park. Because the process is tedious, contacting our team is the wisest decision one can make.

Procedures at Uganda Wildlife Authority

Pre-application advice- UWA allows site visit/initial discussions with film-fixers or production companies, however, all inquiries must be addressed to the communication manager at the headquarters. After the initial discussions, a formal application and letter must be submitted to UWA.

Fill in the application form- this can be downloaded in the link provided. Receipt of all filming applications at UWA are always acknowledged within 24 hours and not beyond 48 hours. You must send your film request 3 weeks before the actual date of videography/photography/filming in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

What to expect to film in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

There are many filming opportunities in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest/National Park. They include gorilla filming in the 4 regions- Rushaga, Nkuringo sectors, Buhoma and Ruhija. These gorilla sectors hold 20 habituated gorilla families that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the premier gorilla safari destination boasts of. Batwa filming is the other amazing filming option often conducted in the Batwa community.

Places to stay: The accommodation in and around Bwindi Forest include Buhoma Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Broadbill Forest Camp, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, and more.

Filming in Budongo Forest (Murchison Falls National Park)

Situated North-East of Lake Albert, 4-5 hours’ drive from Kampala is the lush Budongo Forest home to over 800 chimpanzees and several important primate species. Budongo Forest is popular for its mahogany tree species and holds a diversity of bird species.

The filming opportunity in Budongo Forest range from chimpanzee filming. There are about 5 chimp communities in Budongo Forest including Busingiro, Waibira, Sonso, Waisoke, Kaniyo-Pabidi and Nature Reserve Chimpanzee Communities. Filming elephant shrew etc and like gorilla filming in Bwindi Forest, interested filmmakers require media cards/permits issued by Uganda Media Council.

Filming in Kibale Forest

Kibale Forest lies in Western Uganda a home to 13 primate species that make it the primate capital of the world. These include 1500 chimpanzees and other species include 375 bird species and countless plant species. The available filming opportunities in Kibale Forest National Park include filming chimpanzees.

Best time to go forest filming in Uganda

Forest filming in Uganda is an all-year-round activity. But the best time is usually during the dry season and this occurs from June to mid-September and December, January to February. These months experience low or no rains hence offering uninterrupted filming activity in most of the forest reserves.